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Savory dishes help fill out holiday brunch

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    Leek quiche.

Flamiche was devised when a farmer, en route to market, stumbled, dropping butter, cream, cheese and eggs. A quick thinker, she snagged a scrap of bread dough, wrapped up the mess and popped the proto-tart in the communal oven.

Obviously, this origin story dates back to an age when food safety standards were lax.

Since then, flamiche has gained fans. And leeks. Also ham. And sometimes a top layer of pastry. It’s a flexible form.

Pre-bake the pastry and pre-whisk the filling. Then, on Sunday morning, toss the two together and bake up flamiche, producing not just brunch, but legend.

FLAMICHE

By Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune

  • 3 leeks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder (optional but nice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced ham, cut into matchsticks
  • 8-inch pastry shell, par-baked (recipe follows)
  • 1-1/2 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

Halve leeks the long way and cut the white portion crosswise into 1/2-inch crescents. Pile into a salad spinner. Soak in two changes of cold water. Spin dry. Measure out 3-1/2 cups.

Melt butter in a wide skillet. Slide in leeks and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring now and then, until soft, about 20 minutes.

Uncover and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, curry, zest and a few grates of nutmeg. Stir in ham and leeks. Season with salt, if needed. Pour into pastry shell. Sprinkle with cheese. Grind on some pepper.

Bake in lower third of oven until puffed and golden, 28 to 30 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 8.

>> To make pastry shell: Buzz together 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Drop in 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up. Pulse until largest lumps are pea-size. Drop in 3 to 4 tablespoons ice-cold water and pulse to form damp clumps. Turn out, press into a disk and dust lightly with flour.

Roll out pastry 1/8-inch thin. Fit into a lightly buttered 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll a rolling pin over the top, trimming away excess pastry. Chill 1 hour or more.

Cover with foil, fill with baking beans. Bake in lower third of oven at 400 degrees, 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans before proceeding with flamiche recipe.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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